Donna Galanti writes murder and mystery with a dash of steam as well as middle grade adventure fiction. She is an International Thriller Writers Debut Author of the paranormal suspense novel A Human Element, the short story collection The Dark Inside, and Joshua and The Lightning Road.
She’s lived from England as a child, to Hawaii as a U.S. Navy photographer. Donna dreamed of being a writer when she fell in love with the worlds of Narnia and Roald Dahl attending school in a magical English castle where her dark imagination ran wild in an itchy uniform (bowler hat and tie included). She now lives in Pennsylvania with her family in an old farmhouse. It has lots of writing nooks, fireplaces, and stink bugs, but she’s still wishing for a castle again—preferably with ghosts.
Her latest book is the paranormal romance, A Hidden Element.
Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Donna. Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?
I have several works published so far, with more on the horizon. A Hidden Element, book two in the Element Trilogy, is my recent paranormal suspense novel out now. Book one, A Human Element, released in July of this year. I also have a short story collection out, The Dark Inside, featuring stories about characters in the Element Trilogy, and the first two books in my children’s book series, Joshua and The Lightning Road, releases in 2015.
Q: When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?
I chose a small press publisher for my debut novel as she believed in the story. It was a hard sell being a cross-genre novel. And while my debut novel was published with a small press, I was lucky to get my rights back this year and breathe new life into it by having it re-branded with the sequel by my new publisher, Imajin Books. Yes, there are second chances even in the publishing world!
Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?
It took six months. Publishing with a small press generally means getting the book to print faster, often in less than six months. My publisher for my children’s fantasy series, Joshua and the Lightning Road out in 2015, is much more traditional with an 18-month window time from acceptance to publication.
Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?
I had a book launch party at my local independent bookstore to celebrate with friends and family.
Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?
I scheduled a blog tour. And what a fun experience it was! I had the chance to talk about so many topics in my book that came from my personal life like being adopted, and being a U.S. Navy photographer stationed in Hawaii, and growing up on a mountaintop as an only child. Being part of a blog tour is a great way to connect with readers through book bloggers on a personal level and let your personality shine through.
Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?
I’ve learned that this is the most exciting time to be an author, and the most challenging. We have multiple paths to choose from to become published yet we must also understand how the industry works and keeps changing, and we must be social media and marketing savvy. We have to get out of our comfort zone and take risks to keep moving forward to make our author dream come true, in the face of great adversity. I don’t regret any of the lessons learned along the way as they all add to my knowledge about the writing craft and publishing industry. My first publisher for my debut novel may not have been the ideal experience, but it opened many doors for me as it enabled me to become an International Thriller Writers Debut Author. In that role, I presented my novel at ThrillerFest and made many wonderful connections with legendary, bestselling, and other debut authors that have enriched my path as a writer. I’ve also learned that we must keep improving on our writing craft and challenging ourselves as writers.
Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?
That it is much more complex than I thought and in a continual state of evolution that I have to maintain pace with.
Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?
So many wonderful things counteract the tough days. A favorite love is the camaraderie amongst writers to help each other and lift each other up. This isn’t a competition. We all can be successful and are eager to share what we know and pay it forward. Then there’s the times I hit a low in my writing and think “I can’t do this! Why am I a writer?” Well, every time I think this – I remember how I sat down in my grief and wrote my first novel without knowing anything about writing a book. And I remember how it came from my heart and came from the deep places inside me where I most love, where I most hurt. And then I think about all the wonderful reviews I’ve gotten for that debut novel, A Human Element, and how people love the story and I KNOW. No matter how much I think my writing is terrible at times – I KNOW that I am a true storyteller. And this is what I was born to do.
Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?
Get out of your writer’s cave and join writer communities and organizations now, no matter what level of writing you are at. I wish I’d done this before I finished writing my first book as there is a great camaraderie amongst writers. Also, I wish I’d learned about how to write a book before writing my first book. I took writing workshops after I finished that first book and it required going back and fixing a ton of things! However, I don’t regret the learning that took place afterwards because it taught me how to write a better book from the beginning. Keep learning your craft and keep filling your writer’s toolbox! And remember that this writing business is not GOING to be easy – it’s going to be worth it! Visit my Writers Corner for inspiration, advice, and resources on writing.